Flushing, Queens, NY: After three decades, work finally begins on redeveloping historic Flushing theater

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on July 25, 2017 at 7:21 am

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From Crain’s New York: Xinyuan Real Estate has started work on a Flushing, Queens, condo project being built around the RKO Keith’s Theater, a partially landmarked historic building that has gone through numerous owners and failed development attempts for decades.

The Chinese company, which recently completed a condo project on the Brooklyn waterfront called the Oosten, has selected Gilbane Building Co. as the contractor, according to permits filed with the Department of Buildings.

Xinyuan said that the project is moving forward on schedule, which according to documents submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission this spring, indicates that it is safeguarding and preserving the landmarked portions of the theater, which include the grand foyer and ticketing lobby. It then plans to shore up parts of the foundation supporting these areas before razing the rest of the building sometime this fall. The company is aiming to complete the project in 2020.

Xinyuan received approval from the commission in May, and is planning to construct 269 condos, ground-floor retail and community space at the site, which it purchased in last August for $66 million.

The theater has changed hands seven times since being landmarked in 1984. All of the owners had plans to build either hotels or condos, to the chagrin of preservationists who wanted to see the movie hall restored, but each ended up selling the site instead.

While the city issued its most recent permit on June 29, it stopped work on the site the same day after inspectors discovered the site safety manager and site safety plan were not at the property. An additional inspection is needed to resume work, the city said.

Story link: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20170721/REAL_ESTATE/170729962/work-begins-on-redeveloping-historic-flushing-rko-keiths-theater

ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at historictheatres.org

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Comments (4)

thebrat
thebrat on July 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Interesting. I wonder if a multiplex can be incorporated to it, similar to the new Landmark at 57 West.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on July 27, 2017 at 6:40 am

Kind of ironic that the construction company that worked on the Kings restoration will be the one bringing this theater down.

jordanlage
jordanlage on July 30, 2017 at 6:45 am

Typical of a brain-dead real estate developer not to try to preserve and incorporate a former theater as part of the condo project. Preserving & renovating would help their image, be good for the neighborhood, and result in much positive PR.

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